After an explosion on Saturday crippled Russia’s only bridge to Crimea, prominent Russians called for harsh retaliation. On Sunday, the Kremlin launched a barrage of rockets at Ukrainian civilian areas, sending a deadly reminder that despite its battlefield losses, Moscow can still inflict mass suffering.
After the assault on the Kerch Strait Bridge on Saturday, many people were preparing themselves for a serious reaction from Russia. Analysts hailed the incident as a big blow to Moscow, even if it was more symbolic than it was practical. The explosion caused damage to a bridge that not only carries personal significance for President Vladimir V. Putin but is also essential for the resupply of Russian soldiers as they fight against an increasing counteroffensive by the Ukrainians along the southern front.
In spite of the fact that Russian authorities made a show of reopening the bridge to certain vehicle and rail traffic, the magnitude of the damage, as well as the timescale for Moscow to begin the delivery of much-needed military equipment and ammunition, remains unknown. In spite of this, a senior Ukrainian military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the government has banned discussion of the strike, deemed the success of the attack to be “outstanding.”
The official said that the operation demonstrated the inability of the Russian system to ensure the safety of even the most major and holy of targets. “The bridge functions like an artificial umbilical cord, linking the criminal to the item that he has taken. Everything that is not natural and was acquired dishonestly has to be and will be thrown away.
On Sunday, Mr. Putin made his first remarks regarding the incident, and in those statements he did not hesitate to throw the blame at Ukraine.
According to reports coming out of Russia, the explosion occurred just as a train carrying seven gasoline tanks were passing on a parallel route, which caused the tanks to catch fire. If the timing was planned, it would imply either good fortune or a high level of skill in the operation.
One day after the explosion, there was still a lack of clarity on how it had really been carried out.
Despite the fact that Ukrainian officials made no attempt to hide their delight, the authorities in Kyiv has not yet admitted officially that they were responsible for the assault. Another senior Ukrainian official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Ukraine’s intelligence services were responsible for the bombing. This official stated that explosives had been loaded onto a truck, which was then driven onto the bridge and exploded after it was driven onto the bridge. However, the official did not know what happened to the driver of the vehicle, nor did he know whether or not the driver was aware that the truck was carrying a bomb.
A young guy from Krasnodar, located in southern Russia, who claimed to have owned the vehicle was the subject of a video interview that was broadcast by a Russian news site known as Baza. The individual said on the video that his uncle was the one who was driving at the time of the explosion, and he denied knowing anything about a bomb or having any prior experience with one.
As a result of the assault on the bridge, hundreds of trucks were left stranded, and Russian authorities had to find out a way to get those vehicles to and from Crimea, which Russia had captured from Ukraine in 2014.
The attacks were simply the most recent in a string of assaults on civilians that have been going on for weeks in Zaporizhzhia and other cities around Ukraine. Zaporizhzhia is a big regional city on the Dnipro River, and it has also been functioning as a major humanitarian hub for people of smaller towns and cities who have fled fierce combat closer to their homes.